A county council employee “became suspicious” and recorded the offer of the bribe on his mobile phone
A minicab firm boss has been jailed for offering a council contracts officer a “four-figure sum” to stop his company getting penalised.
Muzaffar Hussain, of Station Road, Redhill, asked his friend Saeed Shakir to offer a £500 cash sum with the promise of further payments to the Surrey County Council official.
Hussain, 46, was a director of the Road Runners Gatwick Ltd minicab company, which provided home-to-school transport services for the local authority.
At Croydon Crown Court on Friday (March 11), Hussain was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to offering a bribe contrary to the Bribery Act 2010.
Shakir, aka Sid Owen, 46, of The Quarry, Betchworth, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to the same offence.
The court heard problems had arisen with the contract, due to the company not managing a number of the routes satisfactorily, and it was about to be penalised by having these routes taken away.
In December 2013, Shakir arranged a meeting with the council officer, at which he offered him a £500 cash bribe along with a promise of ongoing payments of a four-figure sum, to be negotiated with Hussain.
The council employee reported the matter to his line manager and group manager, who subsequently contacted Surrey Police.
The minicab company’s £1m contract with the county council was subsequently terminated.
Detective Constable Pete Irvine, of Surrey Police’s economic crime unit, said: “This investigation has resulted in the imprisonment of these two men and demonstrates how seriously we take allegations of bribery.
“These men took desperate action when they realised the contracts were about to be taken away but their plan has backfired on them thanks to the victim, who became suspicious before the meeting and had the foresight to record the offer of the bribe on his mobile phone.
“He then acted with integrity and professionalism by reporting the matter to his line manager straight away.”
Surrey County Council’s travel and transport group manager, Paul Millin, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to anyone attempting to bribe our staff so as soon as I was made aware of what happened I reported it to Surrey Police.
“We have been working closely with them since the incident and are pleased with the outcome of the case.
“We hope this will send out a strong message that this behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely.”